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Wednesday, 15 November, 2023

Ex Essex player Jahid Ahmed Racism probe being dragged out to protect accused

Ex-Essex player Jahid Ahmed: Racism probe being dragged out to protect accused

Former Essex player Jahid Ahmed believes an investigation into his allegations of racism is deliberately being dragged out to protect one of the accused.

Ahmed, who spoke out in the week that a damning report highlighted entrenched racism in English and Welsh cricket, is convinced investigators want him to get to the point where he becomes exhausted by the process and gives up.

The 37-year-old came forward in 2021 to talk about his time at Essex from 2003 to 2009, saying he was called a “curry-muncher”, told he stank of curry and likened to a terrorist in the days after the July 7 London bombings in 2005.

The club commissioned an independent review, led by Katharine Newton KC, into those allegations plus claims of racism from two other former players, Maurice Chambers and Zoheb Sharif. Almost two years on, Ahmed says he has lost faith in the process.

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket report published this week highlighted that the sport’s complaints processes were “overly defensive”, “confusing” and “unfit for purpose”.

Ahmed says he has been given “seven or eight” different release dates for the Newton review, going back as far as last September, and added: “I’m sick and tired of it. At the moment I feel the investigation is (still) going on.

“They will do anything to protect that person (the player he accused). They will keep going back and forth, back and forth and they keep trying to drag it along.

“They want me to get to a point where I feel exhausted about it and give it up, because they have to protect that player.”

Essex and Newton’s legal firm have been contacted for comment.

Ahmed said the England and Wales Cricket Board is also running its own investigation, but is equally disillusioned with that.

He says he only discovered the person who first interviewed him had left the ECB when he telephoned to check what was going on.

“They touched base about the allegations I made – I’ve had two interviews with them. Since then I haven’t heard anything to say this is where we’re at, this is what we’re doing. I’ve heard nothing from them.

“It’s so sad. Essex and the ECB, they could have made their life so much easier. All they had to do was show some support, show some sympathy, just listen to what we have to say.

“All I’m asking for is forgiveness from these people who have made my life miserable throughout all these years.”

An ECB spokesperson said: “Our investigations into Jahid’s allegations are ongoing and we are taking the necessary time to do this thoroughly. We will conclude our investigation as soon as we are able to and we will keep Jahid updated on our progress.”

The ECB issued an unreserved apology on Tuesday to all those who had suffered discrimination in cricket, and has instigated a three-month consultation process which will end with it presenting its formal response to the report’s 44 recommendations.

The ICEC report also said little to no work had been done to address class barriers to participation and progression in cricket, calling the sport “elitist and exclusionary”.

Ahmed says his charity, Platform Cricket, which helps to provide pathways into the sport for children across working-class London boroughs, is precisely the sort of project the ECB should be supporting.

“The work I do completes some of the work of the ECB. If they don’t bite our hands off to take advantage of this programme, they’re the stupid ones really,” he added.

“It’s the same old PR exercises and it feels like every time they don’t learn from their mistakes. The ECB should be thinking, ‘These guys are doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing’. Come and see what we’re doing.

“You can’t make a decision by sitting behind a desk and not knowing what’s going on in the real world. I just wish they would come along for a day, or a week, to see what we do.”

An ECB spokesperson added: “Through our work with our county partners, and others in the cricket network, we are aware of the large number of local projects such as Platform Cricket, which are making positive differences in communities across England and Wales.

“These projects are often tailored for the specific needs of individual communities and work closely with other local cricket organisations. We will continue to work with the cricket network to take the game to more communities, alongside our continuing work with our main charity partners: Chance to Shine, Lord’s Taverners and ACE, who are also having a positive impact at a national level.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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